The clocks went back on Sunday and true to form Ken was left in complete confusion when at 8 o’clock on Monday morning he turned up for work to no customers. This was a rare event for him at the start of the week, the men in the surrounding area seem to have a follicle based growth spurt over most weekends and therefore it is Ken’s busiest day. When Catherine saw him in the shop so early, looking bemused, she as usual came to his rescue. He looked genuinely mournful that he had missed out on an hour’s sleep so he bedded down on her sofa in an attempt to catch up, as a consequence he was late for the queue that had formed outside the door to the barbers.
It has also been half term and everywhere I have looked this week adults and children have been carrying pumpkins of various shapes and sizes. The shops have been full of them, even Harry and Gary had a reasonable display. I was therefore somewhat bemused by the news story on the BBC that claimed there was a shortage in pumpkins and suggesting that people use a turnip instead. I know I am no Alan Titchmarsh but I doubt even he could grow a turnip big enough to carve, the two are barely worthy of comparison, that’s like saying we have run out of Huskies to pull the sleigh, let’s use a Yorkshire Terriers instead – ludicrous.
However, the shortage aside Gary and Harry had decided to run a pumpkin carving competition, this was open to children with the proviso that they drew the design and enlisted the help of an adult to carve it. I strongly disagree with the Halloween festival, it is far too American for me, but I was impressed with the health and safety aspect of these guidelines issued by the brothers at the Spar. It was also clear from that statement that this was a competition for children so Tom could not get in on the act, although he had been asked to help judge the winning pumpkin.
Jacinta’s three children were very excited about the prospect of designing a winning pumpkin face and they visited a pick your own pumpkin farm as a day out during the week. Suzy went along with Molly, who is just starting to walk, she looked quite sweet in her orange all in one winter suit with matching wellies, although I was concerned that if she sat down in the field she could easily be mistaken as a pumpkin.
The two families returned later in the day with a very flustered looking Jacinta, all of the children had managed to get at least two pumpkins and Suzy even had a small specimen, I assume for Molly. Jacinta’s son Manjit however looked very sulky and I could see why. His head was sticking out of the top of a black bin bag, the rest covering his small frame. He cast Jacinta an angry looked as he climbed out of the car and scurried into the house, she rolled her eyes heavenward as if asking for some celestial intervention.
The families took their pumpkin entries to the Spar yesterday, the judging was to commence at 4. Manjit had cheered up immensely, enough to be bragging to Tom about the mud slide that he had helped to create at the pumpkin farm. ‘It was brilliant’, he said, ‘I found it by accident, but once I did loads of other kids joined in. Epic.’ He fell quiet when Jacinta’s eyes found his, the situation had not been quite so epic for her, especially when the mothers of the other boys realised that it was her son who had initiated the make shift adventure.
The judging was short but sweet, the winning entry by a little girl called Heidi Clam, her family had moved into the neighbouring road quite recently so her parents were delighted. Prithpal on the other hand was fuming, he had carefully carved all three pumpkins and was sporting a blister to prove it. He demanded to know from Tom why his entries had not been chosen.
‘Too good mate’, explained a smug Tom, ‘ You forgot they were supposed to be made by kids, that Michelangelo bloke could have done those pumpkins.’ He pointed to the winning entry, as if to make his point, ‘You see that there? Clearly carved by a Clam!’Prithpal stared at the winner, back to his blister and then to his children. ‘Come on you lot, get your pumpkins, we’ve got some soup to make’, and with that they all trooped out of the shop.